Title Beirut 1958
Subtitle How America’s Wars in the Middle East Began
Author Bruce Riedel
ISBN 9780815737292
List price USD 24.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 128
Book size 127 x 203 mm
Publishing year 2020
Original publisher Brookings Institution Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“In 1958, ‘America opened the Pandora’s box of war in the Middle East,’ writes Bruce Riedel in this brilliant and original work. The events of that year—a history he recounts, informed by his own experiences as a child growing up in the region—have been largely forgotten. They should not be, as the analysis Riedel provides about past and present makes clear.”

Steve Coll, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, and author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S


“Bruce Riedel’s book is a gripping and colorful account of the first U.S. combat operation in the Middle East. It’s packed with narrative detail, including events Riedel witnessed himself as the young son of a United Nations worker in Lebanon. This brief but potent work from a seasoned expert—who has since witnessed a lifetime of events in the Middle East—offers wisdom from the Marines’ fateful 1958 landing in Lebanon that is still relevant in a region that continues to confound U.S. policymakers.”

Jane Harman, director, president, and CEO, Wilson Center; former member of Congress


“Bruce Riedel combines real-world policy experience and a profound understanding of the Middle East to weave a fascinating, complex tapestry of Cold War-era coups and conspiracies, culminating in President Eisenhower’s unprecedented decision to deploy U.S. Marines to Beirut in 1958. With the action shifting swiftly among Arab capitals and Washington, this nonfiction thriller provides a cautionary note for today: how seeing the world through a zero-sum prism (Washington-Moscow then, perhaps Washington-Tehran today) can lead to distorted analysis and high strategic costs.”

Jeffrey Feltman, former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon and former UN under-secretary-general for political affairs


What wasn’t learned from a U.S. intervention that succeeded

In July 1958, U.S. Marines stormed the beach in Beirut, Lebanon, ready for combat. They were greeted by vendors and sunbathers. Fortunately, the rest of their mission—helping to end Lebanon’s first civil war—went nearly as smoothly and successfully, thanks in large part to the skillful work of American diplomats who helped arrange a compromise solution. Future American interventions in the region would not work out quite as well.

Bruce Riedel’s new book tells the now-forgotten story (forgotten, that is, in the United States) of the first U.S. combat operation in the Middle East. President Eisenhower sent the Marines in the wake of a bloody coup in Iraq, a seismic event that altered politics not only of that country but eventually of the entire region. Eisenhower feared that the coup, along with other conspiracies and events that seemed mysterious back in Washington, threatened American interests in the Middle East. His action, and those of others, were driven in large part by a cast of fascinating characters whose espionage and covert actions could be grist for a movie.

Although Eisenhower’s intervention in Lebanon was unique, certainly in its relatively benign outcome, it does hold important lessons for today’s policymakers as they seek to deal with the always unexpected challenges in the Middle East. Veteran analyst Bruce Reidel describes the scene as it emerged six decades ago, and he suggests that some of the lessons learned then are still valid today. A key lesson? Not to rush to judgment when surprised by the unexpected. And don’t assume the worst.



Chapter One. Jerusalem and Cairo

Chapter Two. Damascus and Riyadh

Chapter Three. Beirut and Amman

Chapter Four. Baghdad and Washington

Chapter Five. Beirut, Amman, and Baghdad

Epilogue. Lessons Learned



About the Author:

Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, part of the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. In addition, Riedel serves as a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. He retired in 2006 after 30 years of service at the Central Intelligence Agency, including postings overseas. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. He was also deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a senior advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels.

Riedel was a member of President Bill Clinton’s peace process team and negotiated at Camp David and other Arab-Israeli summits and he organized Clinton’s trip to India in 2000. In January 2009, President Barack Obama asked him to chair a review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, the results of which the president announced in a speech on March 27, 2009.

In 2011, Riedel served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit. In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to brief the United Kingdom’s National Security Council in London on Pakistan.

Riedel is the author of “The Search for al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future” (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), “Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011; translated into Persian), “Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back” (Brookings Institution Press, 2013), and “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015). He is a contributor to “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (Brookings Institution Press, 2009), “The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) and “Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988” Brookings Institution Press, 2012). His book “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989” (Brookings Institution Press, 2014) won the gold medal for best new book on war and military affairs at the INDIEFAB awards. His new book is “Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR” (Brookings Institution Press, 2017).

Riedel is a graduate of Brown (B.A.), Harvard (M.A.), and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London. He has taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, and he has been a guest lecturer at Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, and other universities. Riedel is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Intelligence Career Medal.

Target Audience:

This book is for policymakers as they seek to deal with the always unexpected challenges in the Middle East. It is also useful for people interested in political science & international studies/relations.



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